So… I’m probably going to make a lot of people mad with this post. I have quite a few dear friends who are in love with the trilogy, but I can’t keep smiling and nodding anymore… because, I feel quite alarmed that no one seems to pick up on the level of abuse that is in 50 Shades of Grey.
Even if you LOVED the book, I’m asking you to please read this post and consider what the book is promoting. Even if you HATE this post, please – think about it and comment below. This is the kind of open conversation we need to start having with each other.
I assume not many lovers of the trilogy have noticed or commented on the abuse in the books because they haven’t been in an abusive relationship, don’t see the signs, and romanticize it by saying, “wouldn’t I love to be dominated like that?” Or at least I hope that’s the reason… In which case, let me point out some of the signs to you:
If you are looking for specifics in the book, I read this AMAZING post earlier today that details 50 Abusive Moments that happen throughout the story (and that list is, sadly, not even conclusive.) I am not going to detail out those specific moments (The Rambling Curl does a great job in the post highlighted above, so if you want the list… check it out), but I did want to make a few points.
This is by no means a commentary on BDSM (whose motto, by the way, is “Safe, Sane, and Consensual” – everything Mr. Grey is not). If you want to read a great blog on that, visit: Safe, Sane and Consensual: The Missing Philosophies in the 50 Shades of Grey Series.
There is a difference between sexuality and the objectification and sexualization of women. Anastasia Steele is an object to be owned and manipulated, according to Mr. Grey. He can do with her as he pleases, treat her as he pleases and talk to her as he pleases. This is a remarkably unhealthy relationship.
There is an idealized and romanticized view that being treated this way as a woman is desirable. We hear stories of a boyfriend beating someone up because they looked at his girl the wrong way and the first thought is often, “Oh, how sweet… he’s jealous.” Holy cow, let’s put on the breaks! That kind of obsessive, controlling, quick tempered-ness is foundation to many (if not most) of abuse cases. There is nothing romantic about someone believing that they own you… own what you can do, who you can talk to, or where you can do. I mean, that’s basically slavery, right?! Didn’t we outlaw that for a reason? Why would we volunteer to have that kind of “ownership” in our relationships?
E.L. James tries to make Anastasia Steele look like a heroine. In the book where she “stands up” to Christian Grey (eye roll), what she really ends up doing is tearing herself down to try and appease him, which is exactly what this manipulative douche-bag wants her to do. She spends huge portions of the book declaring her unworthiness to be with such an “awesome guy.” Anastasia is not a heroine, she is NOT someone we should want to be like. She is abused, naive, hurt, and torn down. She doesn’t even see the own abuse that’s happening. (I can relate, I was in her shoes once.)
Christian Grey is “redeemed”… just kidding. (Though I’ve heard this argument so many times). James makes him look good because of the glamour of his THINGS. He’s so shiny… look at his cars, and his mansion, and his yacht, and his MONEY…. be distracted by his nice body… look away from the bruises and the scars he leaves behind. Ignore the way he makes you feel. Forget about how little you are in his presence and the tears you hide in your pillow at night. Those pretty green papers will make you forget all the pain. It’s like a drug – be distracted from the pain for a temporary high.
This novel supports abuse, rape and rape culture. (You really don’t think that he raped her in the first book, when he takes her virginity after she says no?! Isn’t that EXACTLY what rape is? Because she “liked” it afterwards, that makes it okay… or is that just what all rapists say?) The sad thing is, the biggest fan base for this book is the very people that rape culture hurts the most… women. Women are eating this book up like it’s the greatest thing on earth, but it’s basically poison hidden inside a really pretty cupcake. If you want a GREAT romance novel, there are a plethora out there to choose from… ones that are consensual, with a *ahem* GREAT plot, that are WRITTEN WELL and fully support women. This is not one of them.
Oh, and for one last dig… not sure what they are gonna do about the movie, there wasn’t really much of an actual plot in any of these books.
So… now what?! Well, we really need to stop promoting this kind of abuse in pop culture – first of all. There are a few great movements that are doing this, one of which I stumbled across while researching for this post is called 50 Dollars Not 50 Shades. They are suggesting that we donate to women’s shelters or other organizations fighting domestic abuse instead of spending our dollars on the movie. Our dollars matter, where we spend our money shows what we support…. think about what your money is saying.
So what are your thoughts? I would love to hear what you have to say – whether you totally agree or disagree with my post.
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